The miraculous medal is a physical manifestation of the gift of grace that exudes externally from the Virgin Mary. It was originally called the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, but so many miracles were reported by those wearing it that the name was changed. A Miraculous Medal is a common gift for those receiving the sacraments of baptism, communion or confirmation. The Virgin Mary herself declared that those who wear this medal around their necks will be the recipients of tremendous graces. It is thought that the medal will keep a soul from sinking into iniquity and lead one to a purer life. The Virgin Mary presented the Miraculous Medal to mankind as a gift and a token reminder that she is always ready to offer assistance.

             In 1830, one of the few apparitions of Mary to be sanctioned by the church occurred in the Parisian chapel of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. In the first of these visions, a novice nun named Catherine Laboure was awakened at 11:30 PM by a “shining child” who led her to the chapel, where she found the Blessed Mother. Speaking with her for two hours, the Blessed Mother told Catherine she had a very difficult task ahead of her. Four months later, on November 27, Catherine experienced another vision in the chapel. She saw a three-dimensional tableau of Mary standing on a white globe with dazzling rays of light streaming from her fingers, and she heard a voice say, “These are the symbols of the graces I shed upon those who ask for them.” A frame formed around the Blessed Mother, and within it was written in gold letters, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for those who have recourse to you.” The voice then told her, “Have a medal struck after this model. All who wear it will receive great graces, they should wear it around the neck.” The tableau turned and on the reverse side was a large M with a bar through it and a cross over it.  Beneath this M were the hearts of Jesus and Mary, one crowned with thorns, the other pierced with a sword. This vision continued to appear to Saint Catherine several more times until September of 1831. Wishing to remain anonymous, she related these events only to her confessor, Monsignor Aladel. He was given permission by the archbishop of Paris to have the medal struck. The first fifteen hundred were issued in June of 1832, and almost instantaneously a wide variety of healings, changes of heart, and miraculous events were reported by those wearing the medal. However, Saint Catherine Laboure herself could not be induced to appear at any of the canonical hearings investigating the apparitions, Eventually, this visit by the Virgin Mary was sanctified on the evidence of the miraculous effects of the medals. Saint Catherine Laboure only revealed herself as the recipient of this vision eight months before her death in 1876. This came as quite a surprise, as she was thought by her superiors to be almost apathetic regarding her faith. She was canonized in 1947.

             Because the Miraculous Medal commemorates that Mary was conceived without original sin, remaining in this pure state throughout her earthly life. The feast day honoring this vision is the same day as the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8.

 Feast Day: December 8

 Invoked for: Miracles, Sanctity


Novena to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal


Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ and out Mother, penetrated with the most lively confidence in your all-powerful and never-failing intercession, manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal, we your loving and trusting children implore you to obtain for us the graces and favors we ask during this novena, if they be beneficial to our immortal souls and the souls for which we pray.

(Mention your request)

You know, Mary, how often our souls have been the sanctuaries of your Son, who hates iniquity. Obtain for us, then, a deep hatred of sin and that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone, so that our every thought, word, and deed may tend to his greater glory.

 Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial that we may recover by penance what we have lost by sin and at length attain to that blessed abode where you are the Queen of Angels and of People. Amen

 Say this novena nine times in a row for nine days in a row.

Excerpted from the book “Novena: The Power of Prayer” by Barbara Calamari and Sandra DiPasqua

Image: “The Immaculate Conception” by Tiepolo

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  1. Pingback: Novenas for December « Novena.com

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